Green space problem at B-A close to being solved

For the past three months, school board officials in the Bellwood-Antis School District have been discussing what should be done with the all-purpose field located between the high school and Myers Elementary School.
Over the years, the field has been used extensively for high and middle school physical education classes, junior and senior high and pee wee football practice, track and field practice and events and band practice, and also a prime parking area for visitors to Bellwood-Antis events.
All this traffic has caused the earth to pack significantly, caused a good number of large ruts to appear, and caused an infiltration of rock and stone gravel, thus providing unsafe conditions for those who use the field.
These conditions make it unsafe for students to utilize the field.
But now there’s a solution in sight.
At last evening’s meeting of the board of directors, it was tentatively agreed upon to advertise for landscaping work. A vote is scheduled for Tuesday.
According to district Business Manager Ken Swanson, a landscaper from LD & C of Ebensburg recently inspected the property and told officials the landscaping would cost between $8,000 and $18,000, depending on the extent of the work.
Swanson said the process to remediate the $80,000 square feet of land would include spraying to kill the top layer followed by chisel plowing. Afterwards, the sod would be loosened and 250 tons of top soil would be placed on top. The final part of the plan calls for the spreading of lime, fertilizer, seeding then straw mulch. He added there would be a processes to remove the stone and gravel from the site.
The discussion was met with tentative board approval, although some school board members have said in the past that the district should not hire outside help for the project.
The biggest opponent to hiring an independent contractor was board member Scott Boyer, who was relatively quiet during the discussion last evening.
In January, Boyer compared the school’s green space problem with problems everybody has with their lawns.
“You wouldn’t pay someone to fix your own yard, would you?” he asked. “No, you would do it yourself, and I think that’s what we need to do here.”
John Hayes, high school football coach and athletic director, explained the district does not have the manpower or equipment to complete the project itself. He did note the district does have the resources to maintain the field once the work is completed.
Board members also discussed an enclosure for the field. Officials expressed their interest in not using a chain-link fence to circle the perimeter. Board member Donna Tyler said a small wall or cement posts with looped chain could be used.
The district may also consider using the bridge stones that will soon be removed during the upcoming bridge project in Bellwood.
Officials believe the field should be ready for use again in 2004.
The vote will be held at the district’s voting meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the high school cafeteria.